And the future commander of the Cossacks was born in 1582 in Galicia, near the town of Sambor, in the family of a small Orthodox nobleman.
In those days, the old nobility, whose ancestors had risen even under Russia, were already crushed, but had not yet completely polonized, and her attitude towards Catholicism and Poland was ambiguous: between loyalty and open rebellion.
The young man also received a peculiar education - the Ostroh Collegium. This is the place where the Orthodox taught the Orthodox under the auspices of the Ostrog princes - the leaders of the Orthodox gentry. It was education that made Sagaidachny what he eventually became, because a pronounced Orthodox position is not the best career start for a poor nobleman, of whom there were more per capita in the Commonwealth than in any other European country, and a high level of education and ambitions - not the factors that allow you to live your life quietly on your ancestral farm.
Fortunately for such people, in that era there was a way out - Sich.
The Cossacks accepted everyone, there a fugitive peasant could fight in the same ranks with a nobleman, and their comrade-in-arms, a Tatar who converted to Orthodoxy, would not surprise anyone either. There are military brains and talents - and you are a coveted candidate for the Cossacks.
Again - it's not worth romanticizing the Cossacks, Sich - it was not to fight the Basurmans, it was, but this is not the main thing, not to defend Orthodoxy, as in Taras Bulba, the Cossacks rebelled against Poland often, but just as often later they rebelled and against Orthodox Moscow. Sich is a kind of analogue of pirate republics, with the goals that neither is pirate, namely - profit.
And there was no scent of something national either - people who have chosen their profession to risk their lives for profit do not have such nonsense. At the same time, objectively, the Sich really restrained the arbitrariness of the Poles against the Little Russians and freed Christian slaves. True, it freed and restrained along the way, when it did not distract from the main task - profit.
There, our hero by the name of Konashevich received the nickname - Sagaidachny, for his talent in archery, and quickly moved up the local career ladder.
Objectively - a young, educated and trained in military craft, the nobleman clearly surpassed that of the fugitive peasants, that other freemen. People like him, in those places, are a piece and expensive product, especially since the young man turned out to be a very talented warrior and commander, who sees much further than the classic "raid - drank - died."
After 18 years and a bunch of campaigns in 1616 Sagaidachny became hetman.
That was the time of Cossack glory, when flotilla "Seagulls" went on campaigns to the Crimea, in fact, Turkey, and to the entire Black Sea coast of the Ottoman Empire. Even the outskirts of Istanbul were plundered. And even so, the government of the Commonwealth willingly hired Cossack detachments for wars on the outskirts of the great state at that time. It's time to show the talents and career of a promising Cossack. Moreover, he could not have had anything else: the Orthodox in Warsaw were not loved, and the Cossacks were doubly loved.
The first success of the hetman was the capture of Kafa in 1616, the current Feodosia, which was the main slave market in the Crimea. In the same year Trebizond, Sinop and Istanbul were raided. Many Christian slaves were freed, the Ottoman Empire was weakened and thousands of Russians were saved, which undoubtedly speaks in favor of the Cossacks.
But already next year, for a modest sum of 20 thousand gold coins, the Zaporozhian Cossacks go as mercenary infantry to Moscow under the banner of the prince Vladislav and behave with the Orthodox no better than with the Ottomans. True, they are defeated near Voronezh, while the Turks are ravaging the Sich at this time.
In general, at some point, the Zaporozhye campaigns began to greatly interfere with the Poles: while fighting for Russia, it was madness to fight with the Porta as well.
As a result, Sagaidachny was offered to stop hiking in exchange for (calling things by their proper names) a bribe of 10 thousand gold pieces a year. The Cossacks did not accept this, and Sahaidachny lost the hetman's mace. True, the new hetman did not shine either, and just a few months later the mace returned to Sagaidachny. Now - for a new campaign against Moscow.
Vladislav could not calm down in any way and in 1617 reached Vyazma, where most of his mercenary troops fled. And then in Warsaw they remembered the Cossacks. And in June 1618 the Cossacks moved to Moscow.
“The same summer ... Shoal near Moscow ... Colonel of the Cherkasy Pan Saadachnaya from the Cherkasy, and with him the Cherkassian fighting men were 20000 besides the Koshevy people. ... Colonel Pan Soa [dacha] noy ... Livny took it by storm, and shed a lot of Christian blood, beat many Orthodox peasants innocently with wives and children, and inflicted desecration on many Orthodox Christians and returned and destroyed the temples of God [osk] And he robbed all Christian houses ... and captured many wives and children. And to the governor, the prince ... Ivanovich Egupov took Cherkaska and his wife alive, [and] brought him near Moscow, and gave it back. "
That is, they took up their usual business: robberies, murders, prisoner trade ... Only with a nuance - this time the victims were not mosques, but Orthodox churches, not the bastards with whom the "noble Robin Hood" fought, but the same Orthodox ... However, for professional mercenaries and people living by robbery, there was no difference, just in the case of the Turks there was a reason to pose as almost a holy defender of Russia, but here it is not, but it's okay, the Circassian Cossacks had such a profession, the Don during the Troubles they behaved no better. Moreover, the Poles have again dumped 20 thousand in hard cash.
Sagaidachny's army reached Moscow, and together with the Poles plundered all of its environs for several days. But they could not take the city, and following the results of the Deulinsky truce, they fled away, together with the Poles and the failed Russian Tsar Vladislav.
But upon his return to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the man, who destroyed many Orthodox Christians and turned many into slaves, took up again ... the defense of Orthodoxy. And he took up seriously, and not only fighting the Turks and Tatars. So, he invested huge sums in the Kiev Orthodox Brotherhood, it was he who restored the Orthodox Metropolitanate in Kiev, liquidated after the Union of Beresteyskaya, which actually saved Orthodoxy in present-day Ukraine.
In 1621, he saved the Rzeczpospolita (and therefore the Orthodox of Ukraine and Belarus) from the Turks, playing a decisive role in the Battle of Khotin, where the Ottoman army was defeated and Poland was saved.
And he also asked to serve in the service of Mikhail Fedorovich, whom he actively helped to overthrow the Poles.
All this was done by one person, the same Pyotr Konashevich-Sagaidachny, who died in 1622 and bequeathed huge sums for the repair and restoration of churches and Orthodox brotherhoods.
Who was he?
Hero or villain?
As for me, neither the one nor the other.
He was a man of his era and his circle. The Orthodox gentry in Rech wanted autonomy from Warsaw and the preservation of Orthodoxy, and on this Konashevich was brought up, and fought for this. The Cossacks wanted money and become, from incomprehensible fugitives, or even bandits, registered in the service of the Polish crown - he fought for that too.
And the politician has no principles, it is necessary - we save the slaves in the Crimea, it is necessary - we turn them into slaves of co-religionists. It is necessary - we serve Warsaw, but Warsaw does not want to, initiating a cut in the register from 20 to 3 thousand people (and they physically could not pull 20, and for nothing) - we offer a sword to Mikhail Fedorovich.
That was a difficult era and difficult times, and only after 32 years Little Russia-Ukraine will choose a specific side, and only a hundred years after the failure of Mazepa's adventure will this choice become irreversible.
If you do not look for heroes or traitors, and do not stretch the present over the past, hetman Sagaidachny was an extraordinary and personally brave man, however, like any mercenary, he did not particularly suffer from principles.